Journal articles are short papers written on a narrow topic area. They are part of larger issues called journals, which are published on a regular basis. Consequently they are usually more up-to-date than books.
Journals are published as general journals, trade & professional journals, or academic journals.
Students are encouraged to use academic journal articles because they are written by experts in the field and contain a lot of analysis.
Journal articles are normally very specific so you must know what you are looking for when searching for them. If your topic is still at the broad stage then stick with books initially until you narrow it down.
Many journal articles go through the process of peer review.
Watch the video in the box above to find out what peer review is and how it acts as an extra quality control step.
If you are an art & design student you can view key titles in this area on our display on floor 1.
Bookmarks available indicate which journals to use for which subject areas.
The articles contain critical debate, analysis and case studies which you can comment upon and cite in your essays.
Citing the opinions of others in the text of your essay shows you have tried to read and understand the opinion of the author.
You can state whether you agree with the author or not, and this indicates to your tutor that you have engaged at a deeper level with your topic.
Use the search box below to search Google Scholar. Google Scholar is straightforward to use, and unlike regular Google will find scholarly material, including peer-reviewed journal articles.
1. Read the abstract (overview) to check if it meets your needs/scope of your subject
2. Does the information come from a reputable journal?
3. Check the authority of the author - what is their job? If it's not indicated can you find information about them and their credentials on Google? Have they written other literature on this subject?
4. Read the conclusion quickly to check if the author concludes with what they set out to achieve
5. Skim a few paragraphs very quickly - look for your keywords (don't read in depth yet)
6. Is there a literature review? (Discussion of the literature already written about the subject - this will tell you the key writers on this topic.)
7. Are there any references you can investigate later?
8. If it looks ok and relevant you can then take your time over it in more detail